This article presents the results from a qualitative research study that examined the ways in which 17 self-identified critical pedagogues actually define critical pedagogy and their identification of its central aims and purposes. This article problematizes the overlapping and contradictory definitions of critical pedagogy and its historical roots. It critically examines the ways in which professors explicitly communicate the “critical” or justice-oriented intent of critical pedagogy.
Numerous critical pedagogues, including Ken Osborne (1990), Henry Giroux (1997), and Stephen Sweet (1998), among others, argue that critical theory needs to move beyond educational ideology, examining how it can be meaningfully employed in classroom practice. I recently conducted a qualitative research study that examined the successes and challenges that 17 self-identified critical pedagogues encounter as they endeavor to turn the theories of critical pedagogy into post-secondary classroom practices as one means to address the above critique. The study revealed some surprising results related to post-secondary classroom praxis, including the ways in which self-identified critical pedagogues actually define critical pedagogy and their identification of its central aims and purposes.